Hope and Healing for Hypothyroidism with LDN
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? You’re not the only one.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located above your collarbone. Although it is a small gland that measures about the same size as two thumbs held together, the thyroid plays a crucial role in the way that our body functions. If the thyroid isn’t working properly, it can wreak havoc on every fiber of our being- negatively affecting our energy levels, weight, and even our mental health.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce enough thyroid hormone which is essential for the body. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of overactive thyroid in the US. Other causes may include autoimmune disorders, certain medications, thyroid removal, and iodine deficiency.
As one hypothyroid patient describes his story:
"I felt like my gas pedal was all the way to the floor, and I was going slower, not faster. I was tired all the time, and doing everyday things felt like wading through a big tub of sludge. I knew I wasn’t thinking as clearly and getting as much done as I could be. It made me feel like a failure. I wondered what was wrong with me, like I didn’t want it enough or that I should only try harder...I went to an anti-aging doctor who ran a head-to-toe workup on me, which included a full thyroid panel. The tests clearly showed why I felt like crap. I didn’t have nearly enough thyroid hormone.”
The American Thyroid Association states that up to 60% of those with thyroid disease are totally unaware of their condition.
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through blood tests that measure the level of your body's thyroid hormones. If you are experiencing symptoms but your hormone levels are still considered within the normal range, you may have what is referred to as subclinical hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication, which is generally taken for the rest of one's life.
There is a growing number of doctors that are recommending their patients try Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) before starting thyroid hormone medication. This is because thyroid hormone medication only helps relieve the symptoms of hypothyroidism while LDN actually targets the underlying cause of the disease. As a result, many people find that once using LDN, they no longer need thyroid hormone medication. People who are already taking thyroid hormone medication are often able to reduce their dosage. LDN is extremely safe and can be especially beneficial for people that either have not found any relief or cannot tolerate thyroid hormone medication.
According to Kent Holtorf, Director of the National Academy of Hypothyroidism:
"A large number of studies are proving that LDN can effectively reduce abnormal inflammation and cytokine production and effectively normalize immune abnormalities. As expected as a result of such effects, LDN is showing ability to improve the transport of thyroid hormones into the cells, increase T4 to T3 conversion and reduce T4 to reverse T3 conversion. Thus, LDN can reverse the causes of the thyroid resistance that are shown to be present in the majority of people... The increased thyroid utilization also makes it beneficial for weight loss (it is an FDA approved component for weight loss)... We also see many patients, especially women, who complain of a wide array of symptoms commonly seen with hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, inability to lose weight, cold hands and feet, cold intolerance, irregular periods, PMS, dry and brittle hair, or diffuse hair loss on scalp, but having seemingly normal serum thyroid levels... After treatment with LDN, patients often see significant improvement in their symptoms...having a very low risk and incidence of side effects, a trial of LDN should be considered with any patient having symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism."
While LDN does not work for everyone, it seems that those who do benefit often see dramatic improvements. A survey of over 2000 people found that 38% of patients reported spectacular results after they started taking LDN and 48% showed a decrease in the level of thyroid antibodies. In addition, 40% of patients reported reductions in pain, 61% saw improvement in their mood, and 66% enjoyed a boost in energy.
Some people have even found that LDN has permanently revived their immune system and have been able to wean off of LDN without their antibodies flaring or a return to autoimmune thyroid disease.
It is recommended to have thyroid hormone levels measured before you start LDN so you have a baseline for comparison and can easily track your improvement. Regular thyroid monitoring should continue during LDN therapy so your doctor can determine if you can reduce any other medication you are using.
It is advised that hypothyroidism patients begin LDN with a dose of 0.5 to 1.5 mg daily, and very gradually increase to a total of 3 to 4.5 mg daily. If LDN works for you, you should experience improvement within weeks to a maximum of several months.